ATLANTA-Georgia State will look to snap a two-game losing streak and avenge an earlier season loss to Hofstra in New York when the Pride comes to the Sports Arena on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. tip. The two schools met earlier this year in a thriller that saw Hofstra come away with a two-point victory.
Georgia State (12-14, 7-6 CAA) had won six of seven before the two-game skid. Hofstra (6-18, 3-8 CAA) snapped a seven-game losing streak with a nine-point win at UNCW on Saturday.
Redshirt-junior Manny Atkins continued to show why he is a candidate for All-CAA honors on Saturday, tying a career-high with 26 points in 44 minutes of action. The transfer from Virginia Tech made 9-of-14 from the floor, hitting four three-pointers and going a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line.
“Manny has continued to improve all season,” commented head coach Ron Hunter. “It took him a few games earlier in the season to get his legs back under him after having to sit out a year, but he has definitely found his shooting touch as of late and is playing very well right now.”
Wednesday’s game can be heard live on WRAS-FM 88.5 beginning with the Panther Pregame Show at 6:30 p.m. with the ‘Voice of the Panthers’ Dave Cohen and former Panther Rodney “Truck” Turner calling the action. Live stats and live video will be available at GeorgiaStateSports.com.
A pre-game event for PAC donors of the $100 level and higher is also set for Wednesday starting an hour before the Panthers tip. Donors can meet, network and enjoy food and beverages in the PAC Lounge on the third floor of the GSU Sports Arena. To register, please call 404-413-4144.
Freshman R.J. Hunter, who swept CAA Player and Rookie of the Week honors last week to go along with Lou Henson National Player of the Week honors, scored 15 points against the Tigers on Saturday. In the last four games, Hunter is averaging 26.5 points per game, solidifying CAA Rookie of the Year honors and making a push for CAA Player of the Year and Freshman All-America honors.
R.J. Hunter, the only son of head coach Ron Hunter is averaging a team-high 17.6 points per game and 19.7 points in CAA-only games, which is second in the conference. He is also collecting 5.5 rebounds per game, the 16th best mark in the conference. Hunter is making 2.5 three-pointers per game, third in the league and shooting 37.8 percent from beyond the arc, fourth in the conference and 50th in the nation.
Hunter continues to lead all CAA freshmen in scoring and rebounding and is one of just five freshmen in the country averaging at least 17.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. He is in an elite group that includes the likes of UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad, UNLV’s Anthony Bennett and Arizona State’s Jahii Carson. He is currently fourth in the nation among all freshman scorers and 60th overall.
Hunter is averaging the most points of any CAA freshmen since the 1999-2000 season. He is also on pace to score the most points of any GSU freshmen ever. With five games remaining, he has scored 457 points and is just 58 points shy Matt O’Brien’s 1989-90 mark of 515.
Hunter, along with Atkins are among the top four in the conference in three-point shooting, as the Panthers are second in the league as a team making 36.5 percent from behind the arc, the 71st best percentage in the NCAA. GSU is making 7.2 three-pointers per game, tops in the CAA.
R.J. Hunter is also among the CAA leaders in free throw percentage, steals, blocked shots and defensive rebounds.
“We are shooting the ball effectively from three-point range,” continued Ron Hunter. “As well as we are shooting from the outside, we need to continue to push the ball inside for easy baskets. When we can be affective in both areas, we become a dangerous offensive team.”
Junior point guard Devonta White, who earned Preseason All-CAA Second Team honors before the season and was also named to the Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award Watch List by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, is fourth in the CAA in minutes played (36.2) and fifth in steals per game, averaging 1.7 per game.
White is second on the team in scoring, averaging 14.5 points per game, 10th in the CAA, while dishing out 3.9 assists, fourth in the league. The junior finished with 22 points on 6-of-11 shooting on Saturday, making 7-of-10 free throws. White has dished out 61 assists in his last 11 games, including four games of at least seven assists, including Saturday’s seven-assist performance.
One of three team captains, White, who missed 10 games during his freshman season due to an injury, is just 82 points away from becoming the 17th Panther with 1,000 career points. He is just off pace to eclipse that mark by the end of the year, needing to average 16.4 points per game in the remaining regular season contests.
Manny Atkins has just missed four double-doubles this season by one rebound and another four double-doubles by just two rebounds. Atkins collected his first double-double of the season at Drexel on Jan. 26.
From nearby Tucker, Ga., the Virginia Tech transfer is averaging 14.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game this season, both among the top 13 in the CAA. He leads the CAA in three-point field goal percentage, hitting 43.2 percent from beyond the arc and is sixth in the CAA making 1.8 three-pointers per game.
He is second in the CAA hitting 83.3 percent from the free throw line, including an 88.5 percent mark in CAA only games. Atkins is 78th in free throw percentage in the nation in the latest rankings released on Monday.
Lone senior James Vincent played in his 112th game on Wednesday to move into a tie for eighth on the all-time games played list. He is third on GSU’s all-time blocked shots list with 127 and his 65 blocked shots this season are the third most in a single season in GSU history.
He is leading the CAA averaging 2.5 blocked shots per game, which also ranks 34th in the NCAA this year.
Hofstra is led by sophomore Taran Buie’s 14.0 points and 3.5 rebounds per game, while Stevie Mejia, who hit the game winner against the Panthers earlier this year, chips in 10.8 points and 4.0 assists per contest.
The Panthers will begin a three-game road trip on Saturday at George Mason. Tip is set for 4 p.m. from the Patriot Center in a game that will be televised live on CSS. Georgia State will remain in Virginia to take on William & Mary on Monday night at 7 p.m.